The South Pasadena Public Library is a beautiful yet simple Carnegie building, donated by the industrialist to the small town a hundred years ago. But on Restoration Concert Sundays, being held once/month up through May 2017, one could be forgiven for mistaking its Community Room for an older, more courtly setting.
By Melanie Hooks
Graceful stone arches and two-story bay windows frame the visiting classical musicians, mostly soloists and quartets, in much the same fashion one imagines might have impressed bewigged princes of Salzburg or bejeweled duchesses of Vienna. For the price of a ticket and a few lilting hours, one can pretend. After all, the building is full of stories.
Co-chairs Kay Rosser and Kathy Folsom seem to have a small army of volunteers who make the magic happen, but Rosser says the musical “gets” are all due to Folsom and her husband’s immersion in the arts. However it happens, South Pasadena is privileged to enjoy the likes of pianist Robert Thies (who played in September) and the California String Quartet who graced the stage this past Sunday. Thies long ago moved onto larger international venues but still returns to honor the early start people here gave him. His majestic interpretations of pieces large and small held several hundred people spellbound as he kicked off the series, followed by resonant and energetic performance of Mozart’s String Quartet No. 21 Sunday by the young and powerful California group.
Long past being a secret, both opening concerts were packed to the rafters; arriving early is advised…though all can enjoy the delicious shortbread during the break. And the chance to truly listen and experience beauty in a welcome break from a too-rushed age.
Still to come in future months: Piano Quartet (Jan 15), Capitol Ensemble (Feb 12), East-West Piano Trio (March 26), Mojave Trio (April 23), and a second, closing performance May 14 by the New Hollywood String Quartet (the Quartet in Residence).
South Pasadena Public Library
> Restoration Concerts Series pass: $96 or $20 at the door if space available.
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